NU made quick work of Iowa last night, and as is customary around here, I will recap the events of the evening's entertainment.
The obvious takeaway from the game is that Iowa isn't much good. Their two best players, Bryce Cartwright and Matt Gatens, had good games, combining for 45 points. But outside of that, their leading scorer was walkon Jordan Stoermer, who hit two garbage time 3-pointers to incite a crowd of tens.
- The obvious takeaway is that extending Bill Carmody was the best decision ever made. He holds a perfect 1.000 winning percentage by an average of 19 points since receiving his extension. Any other conclusion is just what the haters want you to believe.
- You know how we get apoplectic whenever some NU plays a zone against a team that shoots really well from downtown and you sit there begging them to stop? Well, that was Iowa last night. NU drained ten buckets from beyond the arc in the first half and jumped out to a 20-point lead ASAP. Drew Crawford went 5-9 from downtown - nice to see from Crawford, whose shooting has been a tepid 31.3 percent this year. John Shurna lowered his season average with a 2-for-4 night from downtown.
- NU dropped 90 without a 20 point scorer. Shurna, Crawford, Juice, and Jershon Cobb hit double digits to go along with a strong 22 combined points on 12 shots from Luka Mirkovic, Davide Curletti, and Alex Marcotullio.
- About Curletti, people need to stop doubting his ability to shoot. 12-for-23 lifetime from beyond the arc, yet every made jumper elicits a "hey, everybody's hitting shots tonight!" reaction from a commentator. About which, hey, Bill Carmody, Davide Curletti can hit 3-pointers. (As can Luka, but Luka seems to afraid to take them because of a propensity to airball them when he's on the road.)
- My favorite player in the world is Roy Devyn Marble. First off, his name is Roy Devyn Marble. Second off, he managed to go on a four minute stretch wherein he registered a turnover, two fouls, and missed four free throws on the same possession. Marble finished 1-6 from the stripe and missed all three of his shots from downtown.
- Remember last night when I said NU won because "they played at their potential and everything and didn't allow some random Iowa scrub to drop 25". Well, an Iowa scrub did drop 25: Bryce Cartwright led all scorers despite a seeming inability to shoot and, occasionally, finish in traffic. And Gatens added some garbage time 3-pointers to finish 5-for-8 from downtown with 20 points. These are the performances that MURDERED Northwestern at Iowa in the past. Some gunner hits five threes? Iowa wins by eight. Some scorer plays way over his head, finishes with his first 20-point game of the season? NU drops a heartbreaker. Last night, NU's offense was so head-and-shoulders above Iowa, it didn't matter that NU played mediocre on defense. Amazing to see from NU on the road.
- I hate to trash varsity athletes, but, man, it's amazing to see how quickly the offense stalls when Ivan Peljusic and Nick Fruendt take the floor. It went from high-octane to literally dead, as has happened as the pair has been inserted into other games throughout the year, even though they're playing against opponent's second- and third-string lineups.Fruendt has looked consistent throughout his career, but as a sophomore, Peljusic used to seem to me like a competent offensive player, but I'm pretty sure the team didn't score with them on the court tonight. NU hasn't gone more than nine-deep in any real game situation in a while, and I get a sense there's a reason for that.
- Two straight 90-point Big Ten games. A lot of people will say that this isn't your granddaddy's NU, and you're right: your granddaddy's NU featured Otto Graham and probably didn't allow black people to play, also, they played at a slower pace. But, the pace isn't absurdly quick: by my calculations (Kenpom comes out in the morning, sorry I wrote most of this last night) 72 possessions. That means NU scored at a disturbingly efficient rate, not just that they upped the tempo past the molasses numbers people expect.